When we first wrote about the East-Flemish interior architect Marc Merckx a few years ago (Imagicasa Spring 2019), we talked about the subdued timelessness his project radiate and his warm, minimalist aesthetics in which he focuses on light and space. He has certainly stayed true to this style, as evidenced by the images of VV Residence in Knokke that we can show to our readers here in preview. Although the project is still under development, it is already clear to us that it will be another marvel.
This residence is a contemporary interpretation of a typical, classic Flemish farmhouse. The pure and essential design is full of character and will certainly feel like a warm new home for its owners. Moreover, this project is a collaboration with architect Sebastien Holvoet. This partnership arose some three years ago because Merckx was looking for a way to make his practice run more smoothly. After several successful realisations, the two are now joining forces again to turn VV Residence into a success story as well. Imagicasa sat down with Marc Merckx to talk about this unique project and is proud to be able to show its viewers a preview of the gem that will arise here.
What can you tell us about the scope of this project?
‘The house is located on an elongated plot along a typical Flemish ribbon development with a view of a nature reserve. The project comprises of a completely new house for a young family, where the formal language is derived from the rather typical rural context, albeit interpreted in a contemporary manner and strongly refined. The concept consists of three long, abstract volumes with a pitched roof that are connected by a number of walls. These walls give scale to the site and create a number of more intimate courtyards which are in stark contrast to the vast landscape.’
'A contemporary interpretation of a classical Flemish farmhouse.’
What were the client's key requirements for this project?
‘It concerns a family with children who considered contact with the vast landscape and the nature reserve very important. They wanted a contemporary interpretation of a typical, classic Flemish farmhouse as their new home. For them, a warm but purified feeling with a soul had to be the key focus in the experience of the interior.’
In what way does VV Residence fit in with your design language?
‘Our style is characterised by a pure and essential design. The material palette here is natural and earthy, and has a timeless and calm appearance: steel, wood, terrazzo, natural stone, concrete, ... mostly we use them in their roughest form so that the tactile and sensual character contributes to a warm interior.’ What can you tell us about the materials and colour palette?
‘We like to use sober materials which have a kind of soul or character. To reinforce this, the materials are always treated in a certain way, to give the surfaces extra depth and dimension. Careful treatments applied to each material in the palette create an earthy and sensual effect. For the floors in the living areas, a bleached and aged wide boarded floor in solid elm was chosen. In the kitchen and the bathrooms, a slightly washed-out concrete floor is used, with a warm tone that matches the colour of the wooden boards. The kitchen surfaces, the solid washbasins and the baths are made of specifically selected terrazzo. All walls and ceilings are finished with a rough stucco texture. It is a mixture of sand and glass, limestone, and ground shells – specially mixed for this house. We looked for the right mix to make sure it would blend in seamlessly with the other materials, both in colour and texture, and wanted it to be not too smooth and not too rough. The walls of the house will be built in roughcast and sandblasted coloured concrete. Finally, the roof will be finished with cedar shingles that, over time, will acquire a beautiful patina that will match the walls and thus form a beautiful whole.’ It will be a while before this home is truly tangible, but the visualisations we can show here already put us in the right mood. Marc Merckx adds that a project of this size usually takes about two to three years to complete, from the first meeting with the client up to the realisation and the moment the owners can move in. It is therefore no small commitment. The best things in life take time, but they will certainly be worth the wait! We are looking forward to the final result that will most likely blow us away all over again. Both Marc Merckx Interiors and Merckx/Holvoet will undoubtedly continue to amaze us in the future and we will be happy to share their news with our readers again! If you want to learn more about this project and find out what designer Marc Merckx had to say about it, be sure to read the full article in Imagicasa Spring 2021. Images courtesy of Marc Merckx